The Prestige (2006)

prestige hugh jackman christian bale


Christopher Nolan, devised this tangible and progressive account of the battle between two ambitious magicians and somehow manages to write in a very real history about a similar battle between Tesla and Edison and an insight into various magic tricks and stage shows of the 19th Century.

The film is based in one of the darkest revenge stories of the year and a novel by Christopher Priest , two young wannabe performers are soon baying for each other’s blood after a mistake is made and a stage assistant and wife of the soon to become Great Danton (Hugh Jackman) drowns on stage. Danton then does everything that he possibly can to destroy Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and his rough English accent…

The workings of various complicated tricks are all brought to life and detailed in lavish sets with beautifully dressed stars, with  the glamorous Scarlett Johansson on the stage and the more refined Rebecca Hall who is perfect in any period piece.There is a great attention to the details of the Victorian craft and apparatus,

“Dark stylish and creative revenge story with a epic twist and many tragedies”


As the intensity of hated grows between the two men, they personally attack each other while trying to build a career, Alfred has his secret and family and is trying to his career, while Danton becomes obsessed and travels the world to become the best, and with the help of  John Cutter (Michael Caine) a rugged London ingenieur.

Even though the story is adapted from a novel, it’s so very much in Nolan’s signature style, as with Memento (2008) the story shifts through the timeline showing past and present but doesn’t lose the plot of the viewer, and it successfully adds intrigue and depth.

This consuming movie is abundant with character, bravely filmed and boasts a strong acting cast even David Bowie holds his own as Nikola Tesla (it was great to see my hero play my hero!) and this character adds in more twists as the movie starts to get darker and twisted. Also with the addition of electricity and huge devices, the film takes on a SteamPunk feel which is straight from left field but if you allow Nolan to take you on this mysterious and fantastic ride,   the narrative rewards you with thought-provoking moral and dramatic exploration of the issues raised.

A truly first class movie that has to be watched twice to see the twists and turns. I remember when it first came out it was rivaled between The Illusionist and as far as I’m concerned this wins hands down. There is a lot to take in but you will lap it up.


full review, post discussion to come.

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